Many Love offers up a picture of what polyamory has looked like, over the years, for one person—and her many partners. The memoir chronicles Johnson’s journey, from learning about polyamory to finding many loves. We’re with her as she’s swept away by giddy high school romances, attempting to open up adult relationships, finding best friendship, finding primary partnership, finding community, finding boyfriends, then falling in love with a boyfriend while staying in a primary relationship. And at each milestone, she narrates her process of making sure she knows herself well enough to communicate her needs and emotions ... Johnson’s writing is, at times, as saccharine as her similes. To balance that sentimentality, I found myself wishing the chapter on sex was slightly juicier. But that’s not what Many Love is about, really. If you’re looking for racy descriptions of group sex or tips for switching up your bedroom life, you will not find them in these pages ... What you will find is a notion of polyamory that begins without any description of sex at all ... In fact, Johnson’s articulation of commitment was so moving, I found myself searching the web after I hung up the phone. 'Plane tickets from New York to New Orleans' I typed in—wanting to continue reading by bearing witness to Johnson’s next romantic chapter.
In her debut collection of essays and comics, writer and art-school-instructor Johnson pulls back the curtain on the logistics of functional polyamory. With candor and wit, she shares the romantic, sexual, and platonic experiences of her young adult life as a way of exploring her path to maintaining multiple romantic partners ... Johnson’s accessible, personal, and artistic exploration of polyamory is sure to spark conversation about the many manifestations of love.
Johnson grew up with parents who had a 'model nuclear relationship'. After almost 50 years, it was still as strong as it had been when they married at age 20. So it was no surprise that the author’s early ideas about love and sex were largely shaped by conventional norms ... Desiring more freedom and autonomy than a conventional relationship would allow, the author began having relationships that allowed her to not only date other men, but also spend significant time with the women close to her. In her refreshingly candid and provocative narrative, Johnson seeks to present polyamory as a practice that is about 'emotional consideration and communication' rather than selfish and unrestrained libertinism ... Johnson’s multipronged approach not only demystifies a much-maligned and misunderstood practice; it also makes for enjoyable, accessible reading.